The benefits of Skipping – from a Fitness Influencer
The benefits of skipping are now widely understood by most fitness enthusiasts and those looking to start their own at-home gym must get themselves a skipping rope. It takes up no space, it costs only a few pounds and it’s an important piece to have in any home-gym set-up.
It’s no secret that skipping is great for cardio, agility and faster footwork. And since lockdown fitness influencers have jumped on the trend – bringing the benefits of skipping to a wider audience.
Lauren Flymen (Lauren Jumps) spoke to The Metro about the benefits of skipping and how to get good at it.
What are the health benefits of skipping rope?
‘Skipping is excellent cardio, which makes it great for heart health and improving stamina,’ Lauren tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It also works muscles all over your body, including your calves, core and arms. You will see lots of athletes use skipping to improve their coordination – as well as being a workout for your body, it’s a workout for your brain.’
But what about understanding coordination?
‘Skipping is certainly not easy but you can make very obvious progress in a short time which makes it addictive,’ says Lauren.
‘I see people of all ages excel with it – even people who have never been into fitness or sport. I think the fact you can see progress so quickly and the enjoyment of progressing makes people stick at it over other sports they might have tried in the past.’
And according to Lauren, getting the right rope is key.
‘A lot of beginners pick up speed ropes or wire cable ropes, which aren’t suitable for people who are new to skipping.
‘I learnt everything on a beaded rope as it provides more feedback and, now I’m more advanced, I use my beaded rope and PVC ropes in equal measure.
‘Speed ropes are great for proficient jump ropers who want to max out their jumps in a certain time either in competition or to achieve a personal best – they are not made for tricks.’
Lauren says you need to consider the length of the rope.
‘A lot of novices make the mistake of having their rope too long,’ she says.
‘Your rope should touch the ground as you jump but too much excess rope hitting the ground will cause you to trip.
‘Rather than shortening the rope, most people widen their arms which makes them work large muscles like their shoulders and tire quickly. It is more efficient to keep your hands close to your hips with elbows tucked back.
‘The rope should be a length that enables this without too much excess rope hitting the ground.
‘You should jump on your toes and low to the ground – kicking your feet back as you jump will expend more energy and potentially cause injury.’
Skipping is high-impact (because of all the jumping) so pace yourself and don’t overdo it. Your body needs time to adjust to this new form of exercise and time to recover.
‘Don’t do too much too soon,’ says Lauren. ‘Injuries like shin splints are mostly caused by overuse. It’s important to start with short sessions and short intervals, as demonstrated in my JUMP! workout programme, increasing these gradually over time to give your body a chance to get used to it.
‘A mat will help soften impact, especially if you only have access to a hard surface like concrete.
‘At the start, toe catches (where you don’t jump the rope but simply catch it under your toes) are really helpful because it gets you used to correct arm position to jump over the rope, and penguin jumps (without the rope) get you used to timing.’
The best skipping rope moves for beginners
Toe catches will definitely allow you to get used to the movement of the rope, but don’t be fooled – they’re trickier than they look.
Start skipping as normal, but instead of jumping over the rope, lift your toes and try to catch the rope underneath your feet.
After doing this for some time you’ll get used to the feel, the weight and the speed of the rope before you start incorporating the jumping aspect.
Penguin jumps are designed to help coordinate the timing of the jumps with the rope. You don’t actually need a rope for these moves, instead you should jump, tap your hands on the side of your thighs which will then replicate the timings of the flick of the rope underneath you.
When doing the penguin jump make sure your body is straight, pushing off your toes without kicking your feet back.
Penguin jumps will enable you to time your jumps correctly, with good form
The basic bounce combines the skills of the penguin jump and your toe catches, to hone correct timing and hand position when jumping over the rope.
It’s really common when you start skipping to widen your arms, but you want to try and keep them in and to do this, try and think about keeping them down.
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